Most parents have heard of infant colic. It’s often defined as uncontrollable crying for more than three hours a day for more than three days a week for more than three weeks – although those who have experienced it know it’s more like seven days a week for well beyond three weeks.
Colic is a term often associated with intestinal pain.
However, there are numerous reasons a baby can be colicky, as parents who’ve pulled their hair out trying to unearth the cause of their particular baby’s colic discover.
Our first child had colic, and against the odds our second does as well.
It can seem inexplicable. Some potential remedies will work, but most won’t. For us, lactase drops are providing tangible results in our son; with our daughter, it was simply time.
This is a list of what I’ve learned raising two overtired babies who just won’t sleep. Here’s to all moms and dads who survived infant colic:
1. You can madly, deeply love your baby and simultaneously want to put them in the crawl space and walk out the front door.
2. You will try practically anything to help your baby calm down and sleep – even if you’re skeptical – because that’s what parents do. A no gluten/no dairy diet for the breastfeeding mom? Check. Visits to a pediatric chiropractor? Check. Gripe water, probiotic drops and lactase drops? Check, check, check.
3. YouTube has videos like “10 hours of gentle rain” and “12 hours of vacuuming.” (White noise doesn’t help, but you play the videos ad nauseam anyway, just in case).
4. If more than one of your children experience colic, the causes will likely be different. And unfortunately, fellow parents’ advice won’t help because the reason behind their infant’s colic will be different from your own. Sometimes you think these babies must be messing with you.
5. The only time you can go on the Internet is via your phone, because you can hold it while walking around with your baby in a carrier (since that’s the only way they’ll sleep). Check your email on a desktop? Heavens no, that would mean you have some “me time” to sit on your butt. “Me time” is now when you sleep.
6. On the bright side, all that baby carrying and walking is a great post-pregnancy weight loss program.
7: Grandparents are lifesavers. Without grandma, you’d begin to contemplate a polygamous relationship simply to get another pair of hands around the house.
8: When you are exhausted, short-tempered and a little bitter about your lot in life, you learn what your relationship is made of. My husband and I are guaranteed to make it until we’re old and wrinkly. (Although my husband notes that at this rate, we will be grey and wrinkly in a matter of months, so the achievement may not be as impressive as it sounds).
9. Your mantra becomes: “Every stage comes to an end. Every stage comes to an end.”
10. You learn to remind yourself daily that life’s actually pretty great. I have a loving, healthy husband and kids, and supportive friends and family. And when I strap on the baby carrier to go for yet another two-hour walk, it’s on streets lined with cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
Kristine Salzmann writes a monthly parenting column for The Leader.